TOKYO, March 15 (Reuters) - Japan’s Osaka Gas has so far not bought liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes to replace supplies from the shutdown of ExxonMobil Corp’s Papua New Guinea project following a powerful earthquake in the country’s remote highlands last month, its top executive said on Thursday.
The company, which is one of the four long-term buyers of gas from the Papua LNG project, procuring 1.5 million tonnes per year, expects some impact to vessel scheduling from the outage, but so far there has not been enough of an impact to require buying replacement cargoes, Osaka Gas President Takehiro Honjo told reporters.
Exxon said this month it would take about eight weeks to restore production, following the earthquake that hit the country on Feb. 26.
Honjo said that ExxonMobil has informed it that the project’s facilities have been halted safely and he repeated the eight week timetable for a restart. He added that the company has been weighing the situation carefully.
The impact of the shutdown to the company is limited as it has a range of options, such as using buying more volumes from another project or arranging with other buyers that procure LNG from the same project to change LNG shipping arrangements, an industry source familiar with the matter said.
The impact of the shutdown on Osaka Gas was also limited since not all of its annual procurement volumes from Papua LNG are imported to its facilities in Japan because the project offers some flexibility on allowing cargoes to be resold, said the source.
Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Christian Schmollinger